Cocktails last night with Marilena, Stefano & Klaus near Porta di Venezia at Lelephant, a gay bar, its apostrophe long washed away. Much to learn and observe. The Milan classic is the Negroni: Campari, red vermouth a-and what was that? Soda? No, gin. Better order another. One can make a reasonable dinner from plates of the snacks laid along the bar for Happy Hour — approx. 6-9pm here.
* On Sexual Desire,
At the next table a tall, slender young woman has fine long hair, a child-pretty face, and hips that — every time my eyes brush across them — have my belly contract with lust. I can fan my reaction like a fire: eyes down for a flame; up and the lust fades to embers. We are talking about Roger Scruton’s argument* that the objects of our desires are persons not bodies. This seems to show otherwise. Those lyre-like hips don’t qualify as a person. Arguably the face better represents one. I desire the hips but not the person?
† Death-Devoted Heart: Sex and the sacred in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde,
My intuition is that, like most physiology, the causal chains are more tangled. Curvy hips and shiny hair trigger a lust keyed to the fecundity they signal. This much Scruton concedes† we share with animals. Desire for a person is of a different order, somewhere between lust and love. ‘Sexual desire’ starts to look like a conflation. I have my own theories about desire for a person, but they don’t seem to me to explain adequately the importance of consummating that desire in sex.
Three men at her table. So she’s…? Fashionable metrosexuality, no one wants to be explicit about these things. We meet briefly at the buffet, and I pass her a napkin. This is all eyes and conversation; I could care less.
We spend a third of our lives asleep and much of the rest being run around by sex. We have scarcely any idea how all this works. What price our vaunted knowledge?
It was like being shackled to a maniac for forty years.
— Kingsley Amis on outliving his libido